Ingestre Training Day with Tim Downes FBHS

Focus on lateral work

I’d like to start by saying that I first joined the F&I Association in 2001, but let my membership lapse after just 1 year. I am so pleased that after all this time I have re-joined, and can take advantage of the fantastic opportunities the association offers.

We had a really good day with Tim Downes at Ingestre on the 22nd February, kindly organised by Sue Ricketts. Thankfully we were blessed with mild, dry weather.

The objective of the day was to focus on lateral work. We started in the class room discussing the theory behind lateral work; we covered different lateral movements, the importance of them, where they belong in a horses training and common mistakes made by riders when asking horses to perform these movements. Tim compared riding lateral movements to a dance, the importance of riders going with the horses movement, and how it is essential to give correct, consistent aids so the horse understands what the rider is asking rather than trying to interpret what the rider thinks they are asking for.

We then had 2 riding sessions. The first was to ride lateral movements, developing the quality of the movements and the position faults we commonly see when we are coaching.

The second session was to give marks to the lateral movements we were observing, discuss why we would give that mark and what sort of comment a judge might give. There was a lot of discussion about judges’ comments and the need for trainers to understand the meaning behind the comments – judges can only give a couple of words, not a paragraph on what the problem is and how to improve it! It is up to coaches and trainers to interpret the comments in a way that less educated riders can understand and work from.
We finished off in the class room with Tim explaining in quite some detail how he gives marks for various movements, what he looks for, how easily marks are lost, and how they can be gained, he used examples such as simple changes and transitions to halt, rein back, moving immediately to walk.

The day certainly gave us plenty to think about… Thanks to Tim, Sue, everyone involved in the organisation and the lovely lady who made our lunch!!

Report written by Rebecca Cooper

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